Five Questions for the Daytona Road Course

Chase Elliott, Texas Motor Speedway, Nov. 2019

Will the hands-down favorite and pole-sitter Chase “King of the Road Course” Elliott emerge from Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 in Daytona with another win for the record books?
With five road course wins in only five seasons, Elliott is well on his way to join the ranks of Jeff Gordon (9 wins) and Tony Stewart (8) for the most wins on a road course track. Chase currently has the most wins on this track type of any active Cup driver, as Kyle Busch and Martin Truex, Jr. each have four. Elliott insists he does nothing special or different for road courses, though he does admit learning a great deal from Jeff Gordon.

If not Chase, then who? Can Michael McDowell win two weeks in a row?
Highly unlikely, but “McDriver” does have a recent (since 2018) road-track average finish of 19th, momentum from last week’s stunning Daytona 500 win, and many top-ten finishes while driving in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Another current underdog favorite is Kaulig Racing’s No.16 AJ Allmendinger, who has NASCAR series wins at Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval, and has also participated in the Rolex 24 several times. That race uses a similar (but not identical) track layout as Sunday’s Cup race.

How is the track layout different, you ask?
Instead of the traditional twelve turns, the NASCAR road track adds a chicane near the exit of Turn 12, bringing the turn total to 14 and the lap length to 3.61 miles. Because of the length, this race will consist of only seventy laps. Stage One will end at Lap 16, and Stage Two will end at Lap 34.

How much weight should viewers give to the Busch Clash results, a race which was run on the same track less than two weeks ago?
Surprisingly, the consensus seems to be very little. The Clash is a non-points race, so drivers are just there to flat-out win. There is virtually no team strategy or other game plans designed for a regular season Cup race. Still, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney should remain heavy favorites to win on Sunday, as one of them narrowly missed doing at the Clash when they wrecked each other and allowed Kyle Busch to pass them both for the checkered flag.

But the most important question is...WILL IT RAIN?
It’s Florida. Nobody knows for sure. The current weather predictions say probably not. But there will be rain tires (confirmed by Claire B Lang, Mike Joy, and Dave Moody via Twitter), just like there were at the Busch Clash. Tune in on Sunday and find out!
Five Questions for the Daytona Road Course Five Questions for the Daytona Road Course Reviewed by laweez on Friday, February 19, 2021 Rating: 5